Web designers can create and build stunning web pages with interactive features that can help take your business to the next level. A web designer can combine text, graphics, videos, and animations to make a brand new website for your business, or to simply update your site’s current design. However, before you hire a web designer, there are several key questions that you should ask. We talked to some of the top business leaders, and have compiled a list of questions that can help you in your search. Here are some of the top questions that you should ask before hiring a web designer.

Do You Have a Portfolio that Our Team Can View?

Dan Potter, Head of Digital CRAFTD London

Before hiring a web designer, one of the most important questions to ask is if they have a portfolio that you can view. When it comes to hiring someone in a design or production role, asking to see a portfolio of work is a typical practice. Some web designers display their previous work on their own website, but if you want to see more, just ask. Make sure that when given a portfolio to view, that you assess the style and make sure that their work aligns with what you’re looking for. If you want a modern, sleek website filled with interactive animations, make sure that the web designer you’re interviewing can create the visuals you have in mind. Along with a portfolio, always check to see if the designer has any reviews from past clients, as this can also be helpful to see up front. 

How Long Will it Take for the Website to be Completed?

Alexandra Fennell, Co-Founder Attn: Grace

When you are hiring a web designer, a key piece of information that you should know upfront is the expected time of project completion. A professional web designer should give you a timeframe for your website to be completed. Make sure that this time frame will fit your needs, and will not take too long. Most projects should take around one month max, from start to finish, depending on how much new content you will be needing. Many business owners don’t want to lose momentum, so making sure that your website will be updated in a timely manner is key.

Ask About Their Experience With SEO

Dan Gray, General Manager Kotn Supply

In today’s digital age, following SEO best practices is critical when building a website. Good SEO practices will optimize your site’s visibility online, and are critical to your company’s growth. Remember to ask your future web designer about their experience with search engine optimization before you make a hiring decision. If bad coding is used when designing the website, this could result in SEO problems, and a lower ranking on search engines like Google. You can ask your web designer to show you how their other client’s websites rank, and make sure that they will build in SEO from the start of your project.

Which Parts of the Project Will be Completed In-House vs. Outsourced?

Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer Paradigm Peptides

When completing a web design project, some web designers do all of their own work, in-house, whereas some may outsource their work to other companies. While this question alone may not be a dealbreaker, it should definitely be one that you know the answer to, as having work done by third-party vendors can add more scheduling challenges, and could mean a higher overall cost. Typically, web designers who complete their work in-house will have lower costs, and will be easier to work with. If your web designer does plan to outsource some portions of the website to outside support, it is important that you know which company they will be using and exactly what they will be working on. 

Ask About the Review and Editing Process 

Ryan Azimi, Director of International Development ETIAS

Before hiring a web designer, it is important to inquire about the review and editing process. You and your web designer should establish a mutual checkpoint so that you can give your input and make changes on your website’s design, as needed. Having a web designer that will be adaptable is key. Once you have ensured that there will be a set time for feedback to be given, then you can go ahead with the next steps of the process.

Will My Website Be Built Fully Custom?

Anamika Goyal, Head of Architecture & Design Cottage

These days, accessing the tools to build a website is becoming easier and more accessible. Therefore, if you are hiring a web designer to build your website, you should always ask about how they intend to build it. Some web designers will opt to use wordpress or another mainstream web design platform, and choose a theme to start making your site, while others will opt for a custom build. A custom website means that the site has been hand-coded by a developer, and is almost always the preferred option. If your company has a budget limitation, then opting for a pre-build theme is the way to go. However, if you are paying your web designer for a custom website, then every pixel of the design and layout should be done by the designer. Building a custom website from the ground up will give you more flexibility than a website design site, and will help your website to stand out from others.

Check to See How Many Landing Pages Your Website Will Have

John Cheng, Co-Founder and CEO Baotris

When you are looking to hire a web designer to update or make a new website for your business, make sure to ask how many landing pages your new site will have. The majority of web designs consist of a basic five-page structure. However, it is always important to ask your potential web designer what their vision is for your website design, and to make sure that they can include any other specific landing pages that you might want. 

What Is the Estimated Cost of Completion?

Caleb Ulffers, CEO Haven Athletic

Depending on the size of your business and the budget that you have set aside for your company’s website, you may need to ask about the estimated cost for your website project. While some businesses do not like to share budget information with the potential web developer, it is helpful that you know an estimate of how much the work is going to cost, and to make sure that your business can afford it. If you do have a smaller budget, simply share this with your web designer and give them some of your top wish list items for your website, so that they know which elements to prioritize.

What is Your Area of Specialty? 

Lina Miranda, VP of Marketing AdQuick

While many web designers are talented and can tackle different sorts of designs, most of them have an area of specialty. Ask your web designer what their area of expertise is, and see if it aligns with your own business. For example, if you have a niche boutique, try to find a web designer who specializes in this area, so that they can really bring your site to life, and create a lot of traffic for your business. 

Can you Provide Any Client References? 

Umer Usman, Head of Growth AvantStay

If you are ready to potentially hire a new web designer to revamp or build your website, asking them to provide some client references will help you to get a better understanding of the designer, and the work that they can provide. Being able to speak directly with a few of their past clients will allow you to ask questions, and to see if their website designs have been successful. 

Research Web Design Rates and Only Pay a Deposit Up Front

Shawn Byrne, Founder and CEO My Biz Niche

For a website that is thoroughly professional in form and function, it’s important to hire a reputable and reliable web design company when you go that route. The problem is, there are companies and individuals out there offering web design services that are neither reputable nor reliable. I’ve found that many of my clients don’t know a lot about designing websites, which is why they’re looking for a professional web designer in the first place. To get an idea about fair professional web design rates these days, do some research of your own. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations. Legitimate web design companies ask for a deposit. The client and the company will then agree on a payment plan that will run until the website is up and working. Steer clear of any web design company that demands payment in advance. 

You Get What You Pay For

John Ross, CEO Test Prep Insight

When we were just starting our company and had limited resources, I started by building our website myself on WordPress. I watched a number of YouTube videos and figured out most things by trial and error. However, despite a number of appealing themes offered on WordPress, our user interface was awful. Professional web designers have an eye for UI that most small business owners don’t have. Our expertise lies in our core business, not web design. On the other hand, web design is their job, and they see the most current trends and tech every day. Budgeting for a web design project can be tough, so we relied mostly on word of mouth from what peers were charged for their web design, as well as what we read in forums. We also sought out three to four bids for our project to compare prices among firms. This is a good means of setting a benchmark.That said, my advice would be to not automatically take the cheapest bid. Like most things in life, you often get what you pay for. Our first web developer had the lowest bid, but turned out to be a total bust. We got 15% of the way through the job, then he ghosted us after receiving the second progress payment. So my advice is to go with a firm that has a solid reputation (check customer reviews and Google’s business ratings), even if they are a little pricier.

All in all, asking your potential web designer these top questions will help to ensure that you will have a quality website when the project is finished. Oftentimes, the key to success for businesses is driven by online marketing and the direct to consumer model, where your sales are made directly from your website. By asking the right questions and getting to know your future web designer up front, you can rest easily knowing that your website is in good hands, and that you will get the best website to suit all of your business’s needs.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.